Welcome back, Pagerinos! Jeremy here with another installment of Blog of the Wind! This past week on the Internet’s favourite Kingkiller Chronicle podcast, we bid a fond farewell to Abenthy (or, if you prefer, Old Ben) … and we’re about to bid a fond farewell to Kvothe’s parents, as the ominous foreshadowing never fails to remind us. We’ve also included a preview of our interview with future guest Brigit O’Regan, a musician with synesthesia, who can actually play the name of the wind.
But before we do, we get a tantalizing taste of Arliden’s song… the one that inevitably dooms his entire troupe, and sets Kvothe on the path of heroism.
We don’t get to hear much of the song – but I want to do a bit of a deep dive into the construction of the eleven lines we do get. First of all, the rhyme scheme! It threw me at first, since it’s an unusual one. The first four lines are rhymed ABCA. The second four lines are rhymed DEED, and the last three are rhymed FGG. Now, this doesn’t look like any rhyme scheme I’m familiar with in English (any poetry majors wanna correct me?)
In terms of the rhythm or metre of the piece, it’s … pretty all over the place, to be honest. The first line is in trochaic pentameter. (Unlike iambic pentameter, the first syllable, not the second, is stressed.) But the line is catalectic – he drops the last syllable, so the line begins and ends with a stress. The rhythm throughout the rest of the poem is not consistent – but there is an overall rolling cadence to the meter. There are individual iambs and trochees that are very musical. The last two lines are in rhyming, iambic meter. Eight syllables and ten.
The song is closer to free verse than not – but it does have a rollicking musical quality. The enjambments (which is where the end of a line of the poem is not the end of the sentence) really pull you along, inexorably, from line to line. They’re helped along by the in-line rhymes and the prolific use of alliteration and consonance. These give the words a pleasing musical quality.
One thing we don’t really get the sense of is the tempo – whether it’s slow and stately, or a faster, driving rhythm. I’m inclined to think the former.
I wonder a lot about Patrick Rothfuss’ process in writing this song. After all, it’s all we ever hear of Arliden’s fateful masterpiece. This is one of the most important moments, and one of the most important songs, in The Name of the Wind. Did he make the conscious decision to forgo traditional poetic or musical forms like the ballad or the sonnet? In any case, Rothfuss does a great job of giving us enough to whet our appetites, and then tantalizes us, letting us imagine what might have been, while knowing that we’ll never hear the finished song. Pat gets his own Arliden moment in there.
Howzabout it listeners? Any poets out there with insights to share? Got a crazy theory about Kvothe finishing his father’s song? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org! We want to hear from you!